No Holds Barred Poetry Writing Challenge: Day 8

I season my food like an Indian—
the country, not the reservation—
Is that racist?
I don’t mean to be—
I took a cultural awareness seminar at work.
Our company is outsourcing more jobs to India—
the country, not the reservation—
those of us still here
sit in lonely offices on empty hallways
from nine to five
while our co-workers race to catch crowded trains
in route to an office in Kolkata, India—
the country, not the reservation—
for graveyard shifts that cater to our every need.

They say Americans and Europeans are task-oriented while
Indians like to build relationships first—
every email begins with Dear [Insert First Name Here] . . .
I always ask them how they’re doing
before a conference call.
Rajesh is getting over a cold.
Neha’s sister just got a job
at headquarters in Manchester.
She moves next month.

They are eternal procrastinators,
they can never finish an assignment on time.
I’ve settled to creating back-up schedules just for them.
Never ask them a Yes or No question
the answer is always:
Sure, sure . . .
we would surely do that [Insert First Name Here] . . .

I can relate—
my boyfriend’s always asking me to call him more,
visit him more,
fuck him more . . .
Sure, sure, I say,
I would surely do that . . .
When I have the time.

Turnover is high in India—
the country, not the reservation—
I don’t blame them,
most of them are young; they shouldn’t spend their lives
sleeping the day away to work through the
night for a global corporation that only
employs them because they’re cheap.
Especially with the number of festivals they have a year,
they should be out partying with family and friends.
I’ve tried to keep up with their holiday calendar—
I’m starting to think they’re making up days—
they know I’m not as strict as the other
task-oriented American managers.
I guess I’m more Indian than I am American—
the country, not the—
you get it, right?

© 2015 Nortina Simmons

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